Category: Analytics

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X-Ray Analytics

It's here! It certainly was longer in coming than I had originally expected. What is it? X-Ray Analytics. Yeah, but what's X-Ray Analytics? TL;DR: X-Ray Analytics is a password-protected web page with specific information extracted from your Google Analytics, tightly focused on providing just the most valuable information for hospitality properties an other small businesses. Available in two versions, depending on the level of detail desired. Full Description: Google Analytics is not only a huge application, but it can be confusing and intimidating for people to use, and the learning curve can be steep. That takes time away from your real job - running your business. Often people just give up. That's where X-Ray Analytics comes in. When my wife and I owned our bed and breakfast, I quickly realized that, while I was comfortable with Google Analytics, I was only using a small portion of its vast capabilities, because that was the part that provided me with useful, actionable, information. After selling the inn, and helping other small business owners, once again I found they were interested in only the same small set of information. Wouldn't it be great if you could get just those key pieces of information, when you needed them? Working with that premise, we created two versions of X-Ray Analytics. X-Ray Analytics The X-Ray Analytics version is a single, password-protected, web page. It contains a linked, 3 to 4 page dataset (depending on the information in your Analytics), which allows you to change date ranges, export data into spreadsheets, and more. Because it is outside of Google Analytics, yet uses the information from it, X-Ray Analytics can calculate things like Return on Investment (ROI) for your paid advertising. Of course, the information is organized into categories, including Traffic, Ecommerce, and Social. And it is just the…

News and Updates

An update is long overdue around About The Inn! Fortunately, there is some news to report, as well as the promise of more to come! Presenting in Norfolk, 2018 At the upcoming AIHP 2018 Summit I am slated to present a workshop entitled, "X-Ray Analytics." This will be on AIHP's "Heads in Beds" track, and "An Advanced  Skills Building Session". The description of the session is: Analytics is an enormous tool, but what do you really need to get from it? This session dives into only the most important and relevant areas of it: how to determine the value of paid listings and advertising, prioritize visitor interests, and most of all, do it without wading through all that information that may be interesting, but is not useful for you. We'll be looking at the specific parts of Analytics that gets to the most useful information, as well as looking at some tools that really help you cut to the chase! If you'll be there, please come by and say 'hello'! Updated site If you're reading this, you may have noticed a facelift on the website. One of the joys of a good content management system (CMS) like Wordpress is that it is relatively easy to make a big change. Hope you like it (it isn't actually finished yet, but it is getting there!). More to come I've been working on a project that promises better, simpler, clearer, and more valuable, information from Analytics that every innkeeper can use to inform business decisions, evaluate marketing, and measure performance. Watch for an announcement in the next few weeks!

How Did You Do Last Year?

It's that time again. A new year, and with it lots of good intentions resolutions to improve business for the new year. This is the time to go back over some statistics from last year to try to genuinely understand how you did last year, especially compared with the prior year, and to see what worked, and should be kept, and what didn't. I've written previously about year-end reviews, so, instead of re-inventing the wheel, I've revised and updated the three posts for 2014/2015, along with the spreadsheet for checking on room performance, which you can download from the posts. As mentioned in the posts, if you don't have a way of tracking this kind of information, start tracking it now. Use the spreadsheet, and update it once a month. It will take you half an hour a month, and at the end of the year, you'll have valuable information to use when looking back at 2015. These posts describe the most important aspect - using Google Analytics' Ecommerce tracking to validate how paid referral sources are performing. As mentioned there, you should consider other factors in addition to Ecommerce results when decided to keep or drop a paid source. However, Ecommerce tracking is so valuable that one more thing needs to be said: If your booking engine doesn't properly support Ecommerce tracking, get another booking engine! Five years ago it may have made sense to say, "My booking engine doesn't have ecommerce tracking, but it will soon. I'll wait." Five years has passed and they still don't support it. Get one that does! The Year End Review posts are: Year End Review: Making a List (Creating a spreadsheet to track room performance) Year End Review: Who's Naughty or Nice? (Looking at month-by-month performance) Year End Review: Cutting Through the…

Google Analytics: Tracking the Money

At the recent Hospitality Marketing Summit Conference in Denver, I gave three presentations on Google Analytics. This is the third of those three, Google Analytics: Tracking the Money. The earlier Google Analytics presentations were Google Analytics: Follow the Money and Beginning Google Analytics. Google Analytics tracking using Ecommerce tracking can be a very effective way to evaluate paid listings. However, it is necessary to use a booking engine that supports Ecommerce tracking, and then set up Ecommerce tracking properly. You can achieve similar, though less precise, results using Goal tracking if your booking engine doesn't support Ecommerce. But why? Ecommerce has been around far too long, and it is far too important, for booking engines not to support it. You should be using a booking engine that supports it. Slide descriptions are below the embedded slideshow. Slide 1: Overview: We'll discuss what we want to know, and how we track it. Where to find this information, and how we can simplify getting the information we need. Slide 2: We may want to know who sends visitors to our site, but visitors are not bookers. We want to know who sends the visitors who book. And we want to be able to compare paid sources to see how they perform. Slide 3: Sources sending visitors to our website are tracked in the Acquisition menu section in the Google Analytics tracking world. Clicking on Acquisition -> All Traffic, or to get a report without search engine traffic, Acquisition -> All Referrals, will show a list of who sends visitors. In order to filter out and view only the paid listings, we can create a custom Segment (a grouping of referral sources we choose) so that we can compare them directly. If we want to know how much revenue we have received from…

Beginning Google Analytics

The second session I presented at the Hospitality Marketing Summit in Denver was entitled Beginning Google Analytics, and was an overview of how to find your way around the Google Analytics screens, and how to find just the information you need. In other words, to get those who are beginning to use Google Analytics started without all the clutter of a complex product. A few minutes into the session the hotel had a power cut - and everything went dark! The projector was off, my laptop was on battery, the room and hallway lights were out. It was just me, in a dark room full of people looking for information. It stayed that way for the rest of the session. Thankfully, those attending were great sports, and wanted to continue. So I went through the "slides" - attempting to describe what I would have shown, and explaining as best I could with no visual aids. To that group, this post is dedicated, as the "invisible" slides are below, with my descriptions below that. Slide 1: Overview. We'll be covering Navigating the Google Analytics screens; How to focus on the most important areas; and how to automate repetetive tasks. Slide 2: As we navigate the screens, we'll look at date ranges, and how to change them, understanding the graph at the top of most reports, understanding and using the table of data in the reports, and we'll look at the most relevant menu selections along the left side. Slide 3: Looking at the Graph, the default shows points for each day in the date range. You'll find that changing to the other options can be useful. This is useful if you are looking at a month or two. If you are looking at only a few days, Hourly might be useful.…

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